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Sharky Extreme : Monthly Extreme Gaming PC Buyer's Guide September 2, 2007

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    November Extreme Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
    By Thomas Soderstrom :  November 10, 2006

    Intel CPU: Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.66 GHz)

    Current Cost: $500
    Consecutive Guides: New
    Price Change: N/A

    Normally we'd expect to find a company's fastest CPU in a $4,000 PC, but at nearly twice the price of its 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo E6700, Intel's 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 would have seriously eaten into our graphics-card budget. Certainly, a 50% gain in graphics performance is more significant in games than a 10% increase in CPU speed. We might have also considered the new QX6700 "Kentsfield" quad-core, but its market availability is nonexistent and it is no faster in games than the E6700 we chose.

    Even Intel's "second best" dual-core processor beats AMD's top model in most performance evaluations: Intel sought 40% increased performance at 40% less power consumption than the Pentium D's, and exceeded those goals by a fairly wide margin. We could go on for several pages concerning Core 2 advancements, but while this isn't a processor review, this article is .

    At long last the debate over higher-clocked single-cores and lower-clocked dual-cores in single-threaded applications is gone, because Intel simply doesn't make a single-core processor in this performance class.

    AMD CPU: Athlon 64 FX-62 (2.8 GHz)

    Current Cost: $720
    Consecutive Guides: New
    Price Change: N/A

    AMD's flagship Athlon 64 FX-62 might be cheaper than Intel's X6800, but it still costs more than the Core 2 Duo E6700 we chose earlier. That the 2.8GHz dual-core's actual performance is similar to that of Intel's still cheaper E6600 does not bode well for AMD enthusiasts, but new technology looms on the horizon that may allow AMD to stand up once again in ultimate performance circles. Until then, the inclusion of the FX-62 will be our tribute to the company that carried us through the dark years of Intel's NetBurst and a favor to the AMD faithful.

    Cooling: Thermalright Ultra 120

    Current Cost of Cooler: $60 (+$7 for AM2 Mounting Kit)
    Selected Fan: $20
    Consecutive Guides: New
    Price Change: N/A

    A perpendicular radiator allows Thermalright's Ultra-120 to use longer fins than the company's older designs, without crowding motherboard components. Four U-shaped heat pipes provide excellent heat transfer, and support for a 120mm fan allows good airflow at minimal noise levels.

    The Ultra 120 includes LGA775 mounting plates, but we'll have to add the AM2 bolt-through kit (a $7 accessory) to our AMD configuration.

    Like most Thermalright sinks, the Ultra-120 doesn't include a fan. We chose the Scythe S-Flex 1200RPM ($20) which provide excellent cooling and low noise with 49CFM at 20.1db.

    Page 1 Introduction and Case
  • Page 2 Processors and Cooling
    Page 3 Motherboards and Memory
    Page 4 Hard Drives and DVD-R/RW
    Page 5 Video Card, LCD Display and Audio
    Page 6 Mouse, Keyboard & Controller
    Page 7 Communications, Operating System, etc.
    Page 8 Price Roundup and Closing Remarks

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